Are you watching or participating in the Charlie Sheen roast?
I’m not participating in any way. I’ll DVR it, out of curiosity.
During the first week shooting, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler suggested the atmosphere on the set was pretty intense given all the pressures involved. How is it now?
We’ve absolutely fallen into a rhythm. That was only the first couple days the first week. Ashton kind of blew that out of the water pretty quickly. He’s willing to do anything for a joke. Plus, he hired a massage therapist for the entire crew, which had a relaxing effect.
She also suggested things could still creatively evolve. How much does the first episode match what you’ve shot since?
The two shows we’ve done since then are very much in the tone of the first. There’s obviously big change in the dynamic with Ashton, in terms of what that creates in my character. I can only say my character ends up being the more romantically experienced one of the two of them. So Alan becomes sort of a mentor character to Ashton’s character. And as bad as an idea as that sounds, it’s just as bad on the show — I’m a terrible mentor. And that’s where a lot of the fun of the show comes from.
From what you’ve seen so far, is the tone and feel of Men the same or is there a difference?
Oh yes. If you found it deeply offensive before, it’s still deeply offensive. That’s a promise we made to our audience and we intend to keep it.
Have you been inside Ashton’s swank trailer?
I have been in what I refer to as the U.S.S. Yorktown. What’s great about it is it provides shade — for most of the studio lot. He had told me early on that he was going to get an enormous trailer. It’s a fun place to hang out for us and anybody on the crew — he has an open-door policy. He’s got almost a club upstairs — yeah, that’s right, I said upstairs. He pipes music out before and after the shows and everybody hangs out. It creates a great vibe.
Any ratings prediction after that first episode?
I have no idea. I’ve never tried to dissect the original appeal of the show. I just knew people took the show to their heart. I just wanted to keep doing the show that I love doing. And in this new version I’m having a great time.
How do you think your Emmy chances are?
That [nomination] was such a ridiculous astonishing surprise. The way I’ve thought of it, they just invited me to the party. The guys in the category with me this year are ridiculous. That Ed O’Neill didn’t get one last year is ridiculous, that Chris Colfer didn’t get one is ridiculous. That Eric Stonestreet did get one last year made perfect sense.
Congratulations on landing the lead in the new Pixar movie [Planes]. That’s huge. Is there anything an actor has to do to prepare to play a plane?
It’s all about lubrication. That’s my motto in general.
Men premieres on Sept. 19. See more on the new Two and a Half Men and all the big fall shows in EW’s annual Fall TV Preview issue on newsstands Friday.
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